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Pretty: A Novel Paperback – August 30, 2011

4.1 out of 5 stars 31 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"Jillian Lauren writes with stunning, furious authenticity about self- destruction and the bitter road toward redemption. Pretty will knock the breath right out of you." — Janelle Brown, author of All We Ever Wanted Was Everything

"An utterly riveting, and compulsively readable saga Jillian Lauren renders the taste and feel of wretched excess - be it sex, drugs, food, or Los Angeles - with a savage veracity and style all her own." — Jerry Stahl, author of Permanent Midnight

About the Author

Author and performer Jillian Lauren grew up in suburban New Jersey and fled across the water to New York City. Her memoir, Some Girls: My Life in a Harem, was published by Plume on April 27 2010.

Her novel, Pretty, will be published by Plume in May 2011.

Jillian has an MFA in Creative Writing from Antioch University. Her writing has appeared in Vanity Fair, Flaunt Magazine, Pindeldyboz Magazine and Opium Magazine, among others.

She has read at spoken word events across the country and has recently worked with directors as diverse as Steve Balderson, Lynne Breedlove and Margaret Cho.

She is married to musician Scott Shriner. They live in Los Angeles with their son.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Plume; 1 Original edition (August 30, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0452297346
  • ISBN-13: 978-0452297340
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.7 x 7.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #872,471 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Anne on September 11, 2011
Format: Paperback
PRETTY follows Bebe Baker, a young woman coming to terms with her boyfriend's death and her rocky journey to sobriety. Bebe is an ex-everything: ex-stripper, ex-Christian, ex-drug addict, ex-pretty girl. It's been one year since the car accident that killed her boyfriend left her scarred and shaken. Flanked by an eccentric posse of friends, she is serving out a self-imposed sentence at a halfway house, while trying to finish cosmetology school. Amid the rampant diagnoses, over-medication, compulsive eating, and acrylic nails of Los Angeles, Bebe looks for something to believe in before something - her past, the dangerously magnetic men in her life, her own bad choices - knocks her off course again.


Pretty is a book I won't soon forget. Bebe is not someone to pity, but rather someone to watch. All her life she has been searching for who she is. She has been born again and again and is ever hopeful that one day it will stick.

Except for the ex-everything et al., I completely relate to Bebe. Who hasn't thought about how their life should have been, could have been, should be, could be. Bebe is all about hope. She never loses hope even when she thinks it is all hopeless.

This is not a book about the privileged or the semi-privileged nor is it about the under-privileged. Pretty is about finding one's way in life, regardless of the path we choose. One wrong turn does not mean game over. There is always another road just waiting to be taken.

Disclosure: As a Global Influence member, I was sent a free copy to review. As always, my opinions are 100% my own.
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Format: Paperback
This was such a heartbreaking novel but one that reminds everyone that there hope can lead to the light at the end of the tunnel.

The Good: The language of the writing was superb. From the very first line all the way to the end I was captivated by what Bebe had to say. There were some lines that were so visceral I had to reread the line again. Pg. 5 Bebe says, "My love for Aaron was so acidic it scraped my veins raw." Can you imagine loving someone so much that you feel it into your veins, you feel it so much you think one wrong step and your veins will be stripped completely bare? This is how Bebe's love for Aaron came across to me. That deep. She was a very interesting character to me. While reading about her addictions and recovery process I almost imagined her being on the show Intervention...it was that realistic for me. I felt like Bebe's road to redemption was about as slow and steady as it could be for someone recovering from not only her own demons but the loss of a life of someone she loves. The sobriety house she lives in "Serenity" and her fellow comrades are all grounded in reality and they feel so close to me now that I feel like I could turn the corner and see Buck or Violet. I can feel the sense of urgency for Bebe when she wants to graduate cosmetology school, not because it's such a great career, but because it's an achievement that Bebe didn't think she could do. It's a step in the right direction...it's her way of moving on from her addictions and the past. Her gay friend, Javi, is a hoot and I totally love the role he plays in the novel. The other thing I LOVED about this novel is the way Jillian Lauren portrayed the mentally ill Jake. He is schizophrenic with delusions of being God, Jesus or both.
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Format: Paperback
Pretty is an edgy novel about a teenage girl named Bebe who leaves home with a musician named Aaron and ends up becoming a stripper and an addict. Aaron and Bebe's partying habits are out of control, they both drink too much and use drugs. One night, after a big fight between the two, Aaron is killed while driving under the influence. Bebe survives the car accident, but finds herself in a rehab facility trying to get her life together.
After she finishes rehab, Bebe goes to live at a halfway house. The house offers free training at a beauty school in order to help its inhabitants better themselves and become functioning members of society.
Throughout the story you get a glimpse of Bebe's life while she finishes up cosmetology school. She starts to date a fellow rehab patient, a paranoid schizophrenic named Jake. Except for her friends, Bebe is alone in the world, her mother being an addict herself and no help to her.

I found Pretty to start off really interestingly enough. Here is this young woman who has been through alot, nearly dying in a car accident, then going to rehab and trying to get clean. Then I found the story to fizzle a bit in the middle. I was tired of hearing about Bebe's cosmetology school and the different beauty techniques she was learning. Her fellow classmates and halfway house inhabitants did interest me as I read. These were characters who had lost their way but banded together to help each other out.
Bebe's new boyfriend Jake was disturbing to read about, especially when he would go on his rants about religion. He is a paranoid schizophrenic who thinks he is Jesus. I found it surprising that Bebe didn't recognize his symptoms as out of control and dangerous while she was dating him.
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